I'm absolutely thrilled to have my poem "Sapphics with Little Rags and Cabbage" appear in the new anthology edited by Annie Finch and Alexandra Oliver, Measure for Measure. Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2015, the collection is a wonderful way to study the fine points of meter through examples. Annie and Alexandra have organized it by metrical type and added notes on the different meter, which should make it a great way to learn more about new meters you may not have used in poems.
I wrote this about my childhood town, San Pedro, which was then the home of the West Coast's commercial fishery and also the port of Los Angeles. As a fishery, it attracted European immigrants from every country around the Mediterranean, especially Slavic people. To me, daughter of the rocket engineer, these old world grandmas seemed like something out of fairytales. Here's the poem -- as it appears in my book Femme au chapeau (soon to be available as an eBook!):
Sapphics with Little Rags and Cabbage
from Zagreb dig in their stony yards.
stories curl next to their molars
they bury jars of pennies and nickels,
the day’s catch.
evenings, grandmothers for hire
to our house. Mrs. Pinsky’s arms jiggle
little crosses dangle from ears. She winks,
salts her pot of Little Rags and Cabbage,
stone stew she says is made with rutabagas,
and thistles from women who, gardening,
I curse the Fisher God! they say as they spit.
Him who gaffed me onto this easy
keep the sour taste of Vis in their cheeks,
suffer in suits for ancient traditions.
Vukasivich sends to the village
picture of her Frank in his coffin, writes,
Labels: fairytale, Femme au chapeau, formal verse, poem, San Pedro